Courgette, Tomato and Halloumi Tart

Courgette, cherry tomato and halloumi tart

Originally, I was going to call this courgette, cherry tomato and halloumi tart, ‘Leftover Tart’, as I made it from the courgette and tomatoes left over from last week’s veg box delivery, along with the leftover puff pastry that was in the freezer. Then I realised it sounded like a derogatory term for someone’s ex, and this puff pastry tart deserves more respect than that and, while ‘Courgette, Tomato and Halloumi Tart’ doesn’t sound particularly exotic, it is at least descriptive.

It was a night for leftovers, as I’d taken out of the freezer the leftover Chinese takeaway (tofu for me, chilli beef for The Meat Eater) from a few months ago, then decided not to risk my life by eating it, and made the tart instead. The Meat Eater, on the other hand, decided to risk the possibly-food-poisoning-inducing takeaway but I can report that he didn’t die in the night.

I roasted the vegetables in oil and some Schwartz Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Recipe Mix before putting them on the puff pastry and you can use whatever vegetables you have lying around in your fridge, such as these tarts I’ve made in the past:

Vegan Leek, Spinach and Mushroom Tart

Leek, Mushroom and Goat’s Cheese Tart

Mushroom, Leek and Mozzarella Tart

Courgette and Tomato Tart

Courgette, Tomato and Halloumi Tart
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • ⅓ pack ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 courgette, sliced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, pricked once with a knife to prevent them exploding
  • ½ packet Schwartz Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables Recipe Mix (or use whatever herbs you fancy)
  • 100g halloumi, sliced into strips
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Drizzle the courgette and tomatoes with a little olive oil, then coat evenly with the herb mix
  2. Spread the vegetables in a roasting tin and roast at 200C for about 10 minutes, until the courgettes are tender
  3. Lightly score a 1" border around the puff pastry, then layer the courgettes and tomatoes on top, keeping within the border
  4. Lay the strips of halloumi on top of the courgette and tomatoes and return to the oven for 20 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden and the halloumi has lightly browned

For more inspiration, have a look at these tarts from my fellow food bloggers:

Creamy Courgette Puff Pastry Tart by Family Friends Food

Honeyed Fig and Goat’s Cheese Tarts with Walnuts and Chocolate Balsamic Sauce by Tin and Thyme

Harissa, Kale and Roasted Vegetable Tart by Celery and Cupcakes

Mushroom and Walnut Tart by Supper in the Suburbs

Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto Tart by Coriander Queen

 

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Strawberry and Coconut Energy Bars

strawberry-coconut-flapjacks

I took part in a 78-mile cycling event yesterday and, although I’d bought a Bounce Energy Ball and a Clif Bar to take with me, because I’ve got a bigger cycling event coming up in a couple of weeks and a) shop-bought products are expensive (the Bounce Energy Ball was £1-something and the Clif Bar was a smidge under £2); and b) I wanted to try a variety of different energy bars to see which I liked best, I wanted to make some of my own.

These strawberry and coconut energy bars are based on this Sunshine Bars recipe and they got me happily through 63 miles of cycling. I then had the Clif Bar, felt sick and abandoned the last twenty miles of the ride and got the train home instead. There’s something to be said for the ‘never try anything new on race day’ advice. But if you want something homemade with the right nutrients to get you through a long sporting event (don’t confuse protein bars with energy bars – protein bars contain a high amount of protein and are best after exercise to help repair the muscles, whereas energy bars contain a high amount of carbohydrate to fuel your muscles during exercise), these bars are for you. They taste amazing, too. I used dried strawberries from Urban Fruit because their dried fruit contains fruit and nothing else. I was shocked a few weeks ago after buying a bag of dried cranberries, to find out that cranberries were only about 40% of the ingredients.

Unfortunately, they’re not vegan, as most rice crispies contain Vitamin D, which is made from lanolin – a secretion from sheep skin, found in wool (and now I’ve just typed ‘a secretion from sheep skin’, I feel as sick as if I’d just eaten another Clif Bar) and I also bunged in a bag of Munchy Seeds honey-roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds that I had lying around in the fruit bowl that never contains fruit. However, vegans need not despair – after finding out that all major supermarkets’ own rice crispies contain Vitamin D, I’ve found a vegan-friendly brand: Kallo Organic Wholegrain Breakfast Puffs, that you can get from Ocado or Holland & Barrett.

Strawberry and coconut energy bars

Strawberry and Coconut Energy Bars
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Energy Bars
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • 50g dried strawberries or other dried fruit, chopped
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 25g puffed rice cereal
  • 40g desiccated coconut
  • 25g cashews or other nuts, chopped
  • 25g sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 60g Golden Syrup
  • 50g butter or spread
Instructions
  1. Mix the fruit, oats, cereal, nuts, seeds and coconut into a large bowl and mix well
  2. Gently heat the sugar, syrup and butter/spread in a saucepan until the butter has melted, then simmer for a couple of minutes
  3. Stir the syrupy mixture into the dry mix and combine thoroughly
  4. Tip into a 8" square tin and press down firmly (I do this by putting a piece of baking paper over the mixture, then rolling a tin backwards and forwards on top of it)
  5. Bake in the oven at 180C for about ten minutes, or until lightly browning at the edges
  6. Leave to cool, then put in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up
  7. Cut into 9 pices

 


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Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Wild Garlic Frittata

Sweet potato, mushroom and wild garlic frittata

This frittata must be the freshest thing I’ve made for ages. The eggs were from chickens who roam the grounds of a local house – making them about as free range as it’s possible to be without giving the chickens a railcard, the sweet potato and wild garlic came in my recently reinstated Riverford vegetable box and the mushrooms were grown in our very own dining room from the mushroom growing kit I bought The Meat Eater for his birthday a few weeks ago (I didn’t only buy him a grow-your-own-mushrooms kit; I’m not that tight. He also got a couple of books, a segway experience and some fudge, in case you’re interested. And if you want to know what the books were, one was a Guy Martin memoir and one was a Jeremy Clarkson book. I bought the Jeremy Clarkson book in a charity shop and the woman behind the counter said ‘Oh, Jeremy Clarkson!’, so I quickly said IT’S NOT FOR ME and now I’m scared the lady in the charity shop thinks I’m the type of person who likes Jeremy Clarkson).

Anyway, although I thought my as-fresh-as-fresh-can-be frittata was amazing, The Meat Eater said it wasn’t as good as an omelette. He said it was nice, but if it was an omelette and the sweet potato and mushrooms were on the side, it would be better. He is obviously wrong for many reasons but mostly because:

a frittata isn’t an omelette.

Just because a dish has eggs in it, that doesn’t mean you can call it whatever you feel like, depending on your mood that day. I didn’t call it a frittata because I wanted to make an omelette sound posh; I called it a frittata because it’s a frittata. Not an omelette and not a tortilla – Spanish or otherwise – but a frittata.

The differences are simple:

  • an omelette is cooked from start to finish on the hob and the eggs are folded over the filling;
  • a tortilla is also cooked from start to finish on the hob but instead of the eggs being folded over the filling, the filling is cooked inside it, then the tortilla is flipped over to finish cooking the other side;
  • a frittata starts life on the hob the same way as a tortilla, but is finished in the oven (which probably means my frittata isn’t really a frittata, as I poured the eggs over the filling then put it straight in the oven).

Still, whatever the correct name for my dish is, it was quick and easy to make and incredibly tasty. Unfortunately, there weren’t any leftovers but I’m sure it would be just as good cold the next day for lunch, as it was hot.

Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Wild Garlic Frittata
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 300g sweet potato, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 50g wild garlic, chopped
  • 150g mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Boil the sweet potatoes for 10-15 minutes, until tender
  2. Meanwhile, fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes, then add the wild garlic and stir for a minute or so until the wild garlic has wilted
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  4. Remove from the heat and add the sweet potato
  5. Put the sweet potato, mushroom and wild garlic into an ovenproof dish and pour the beaten eggs over
  6. Bake in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes or until the eggs have set
  7. Serve hot or cold

For an interesting variation (I’d never have thought of putting chickpeas in a frittata), check out Helen from Fuss Free Flavours’ Red Pepper & Chickpea Frittata and Claire from Foodie Quine’s Fully Loaded Vegetable Frittata.


 

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Expedia World on a Plate – Vegetarian Bulgarian Recipes

Hands up who knows where Bulgaria is? In case you’re like me and your knowledge of Bulgaria begins and ends with a certain Womble called Uncle, then here’s a map for you.

Map showing where Bulgaria is
Bulgaria: nowhere near Wimbledon

So, when Expedia asked me if I’d take part in their World on a Plate Challenge and cook something from Bulgaria, although I had no idea if Bulgarians ate nothing but fried newt eyes and worm feet, I agreed.

I probably should have checked Google before agreeing to take part in the challenge but I found out that Bulgarian food is practically the same as Turkish food (which isn’t surprising as, as you can see from the map, Turkey is only down the road from Bulgaria) and Turkish food is one of my favourite cuisines. Yay halloumi. Yay hummus. Yay falafel. Yay those spinach and feta triangle pastry things.

One dish I came across frequently while looking for vegetarian Bulgarian inspiration was stuffed aubergines or, as it’s more commonly known in Bulgaria – Imam Bayaldy (and as with hummus, there are various variations on the spelling so don’t moan at me if I didn’t use your preferred spelling).

Vegetarian Bulgarian food
Bulgarian potatoes au gratin and Bulgarian stuffed aubergines

As this was supposed to be a challenge, I decided I should probably serve the stuffed aubergines with something more adventurous (and more Bulgarian) than plain boiled potatoes and peas, so I accompanied the stuffed aubergines with Bulgarian potatoes au gratin (which Google informs me is also called ‘ogreten’ which sounds more Bulgarian than ‘au gratin’ which sounds distinctly French to me and, according to my map, France is nowhere near Bulgaria).

Unfortunately, The Meat Eater wasn’t keen on either of these dishes and found them a bit bland. I reckon this was because he’d caught the lurgy I’d had recently, because I found the potatoes creamy and tangy, and the stuffed aubergines were – well, stuffed aubergines, which are always nice, but I’ll admit they could have been tastier.

You can find the original recipe for the Bulgarian stuffed aubergines here and the original recipe for the Bulgarian potatoes au gratin here. As usual, the recipes below are my adaptations, using ingredients I have to hand/can find in the supermarket and simplified to suit my cooking methods/laziness.

Bulgarian Stuffed Aubergines (Imam Bayaldy)
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Cuisine: Bulgarian
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large aubergine
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and fry gently for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the aubergine in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving the skins intact.
  4. Chop the aubergine flesh and add to the onions and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, carrot, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Stuff the aubergine skins with the onion mixture, place in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
  7. Cook for 20-30 minutes.

Bulgarian Potatoes au Gratin
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Bulgarian
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 450g cottage cheese
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 3 medium potatoes, sliced ⅛" thick
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
  2. Lightly grease an ovenproof dish with butter or oil.
  3. In a blender or food processor (I used a hand blender), puree cheese until as smooth as possible.
  4. Add the butter, salt and pepper and blend in thoroughly.
  5. Lay one-third of the potatoes in the ovenproof dish and top with one-third of the cheese mixture. Lay down another third of potatoes and cheese, followed by the last third.
  6. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 1- 11/2 hours.
  7. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and yoghurt and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour over the potatoes and bake, uncovered, until the topping is puffy, golden and set, about 20-30 minutes.

Check out these other vegetarian Expedia World on a Plate recipes from my fellow bloggers:

Simple Fig Jam from Fab Food 4 All
Plum, Apple and Almond Tarte Tatin from Foodie Quine
Quick and Easy Creamy Mushroom Pasta from The Hedge Combers
Olive, Garlic, Halloumi, Spelt Bread – Eliopsomi from Tin and Thyme

This post was sponsored by Expedia World on a Plate. 

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Recipe: Easy Vegan Gingerbread Men

Vegan gingerbread men

As you know, I’m not a great cake or cookie person (actually, that’s a lie – I love cookies, I just don’t like making them because then I see exactly what goes into them and then I’m thinking HOW MANY CALORIES?)

But then Discount Supplements asked me to make something healthy for Christmas, using one of their products. They gave me a list of recipes to choose from and I chose the vegan gingerbread men because a) it looked the easiest; and b) I fancied playing with men-shaped cookie cutters.

Vegan gingerbread man and hot chocolate
Yes, those are vegan marshmallows in the hot chocolate

I didn’t quite follow the provided recipe (and when I say ‘quite’, I mean ‘disregarded 99% of it’) so this recipe is how I made the gingerbread men, using the ingredients I had available (e.g. I used applesauce as an egg replacer instead of a flax egg, wholemeal flour instead of gluten-free flour and Golden Syrup instead of molasses).

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a gingerbread man before (not sure I’ve had a ginger man before – bread or otherwise, actually, but let’s not go there, eh?) so I don’t know if these are how they’re supposed to be, but if gingerbread men are supposed to be crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, then I’m the boss at making gingerbread men.

Vegan gingerbread men

Recipe: Easy Vegan Gingerbread Men
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 15
Ingredients
  • 350g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g dairy-free spread
  • 175g demerara sugar
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 4 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • ⅛ cup almond butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon into a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Beat the applesauce, Golden Syrup and almond butter together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out and knead until smooth. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  4. Lightly flour a chopping board or worktop and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 0.5cm.
  5. Using cookie cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
  6. Bake for about 13 minutes, or until a light golden-brown.
  7. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
  8. Either use a skewer to make eyes and buttons, or decorate with icing.

Thanks to Discount Supplements for supplying me with the almond butter used in this recipe.

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Recipe: Vegan Chickpea (Gram) Flour Pancake

Chickpea flour (gram flour) pancake

Chickpea flour (also known as gram flour) is so versatile. It can be used instead of eggs in omelettes, pancakes, quiches and loads of other things. My latest favourite way to use it is to make pancakes – they’re just as quick and easy to make as their eggy equivalents, but with the added bonus of it being vegan and therefore cruelty-free (and wheat- and gluten-free if you need to avoid those). What I mostly love about pancakes though is that they’re just a pancake-based pizza – choose your toppings just as you would a pizza and throw them on the top of the pancake at the end of cooking.

In the photo is a chickpea flour pancake I made the other day with spinach, mushrooms, olives, sundried tomatoes, garlic and pine nuts.

You should be able to find chickpea flour in your local supermarket (just bear in mind it might say gram flour on the packet) but if not, then any Indian/international store should have it.

Chickpea (Gram) Flour Pancake
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pancake
Cuisine: Vegan
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup chickpea (gram) flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp water
  • salt and pepper
  • Your choice of toppings
Instructions
  1. Prepare your toppings (e.g. fry your mushrooms, spinach and garlic) and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the chickpea flour, baking powder and water, then season with salt and pepper. Whisk until no lumps remain.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and pour in the pancake batter.
  4. Cook for a couple of minutes until the pancake feels firm enough to flip over.
  5. Carefully flip the pancake over, scatter your toppings on top of the pancake and cook for another couple of minutes.

 

If you’re interested in cooking with chickpea flour, here are a couple of recipes from other food bloggers you might like:

Coconut Chickpea Chocolate Cake from Tin and Thyme
Quick Indian Pancakes with Spiced Potato Filling from The Veg Space

And for those of you who don’t need a vegan/gluten-free pancake, here’s a recipe for a more traditional pancake (i.e. one that’s made with eggs and dairy milk).


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Recipe: Smoothies Containing Blueberries

I generally don’t plan what goes into my smoothies – as I mentioned in my Nutribullet review the other day, it doesn’t seem to matter what combination of fruit you add, it always turns out delicious.

These two smoothies were no exception – I randomly chucked in whatever fruit I could find in the fridge and freezer and out of the Nutribullet came fresh, creamy smoothies. You can see what they were made with in the captions.

Spinach, clementine, raspberry, blueberry, chia seeds and Alpro coconut drink Nutriblast
Spinach, clementine, raspberry, blueberry, chia seeds and Alpro coconut drink
Spinach, blueberry, frozen summer fruit, Alpro coconut drink Nutriblast
Spinach, blueberry, frozen summer fruit, Alpro coconut drink
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Recipe: Smoky Marinated Tofu in Pitta Bread

Tofu marinated in sesame oil, sriracha, liquid smoke and nutritional yeast

I hadn’t had tofu for ages, so it was time to remedy that and raid the cupboard and fridge for condiments and drag the George Foreman out of the cupboard.

The result was cripsy, smoky, spicy tofu that I stuffed in a Food Doctor seeded pitta bread (only £1 for 6 in Tesco) with spinach, olives and mayo.

Recipe: Marinated Tofu in Pitta Bread
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ½ block tofu, pressed and sliced in half
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • A few drops liquid smoke
Instructions
  1. Mix up the sesame oil, nutritional yeast, sriracha and liquid smoke and coat the tofu in it, rubbing it in with your hands
  2. Leave to marinate for a few hours (or minutes, depending on how organised you are in planning ahead)
  3. Grill on a George Foreman grill for 10-15 minutes, until crispy
  4. Stuff in pitta bread with salad

 

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Recipe: Vegan Banana Chocolate Tofu Mousse

 

Raw vegan chocolate banana mousse

Back in January, I made a vegan chocolate mousse. I kept meaning to make it again because a) it’s delicious; and b) seriously quick and easy to make. But, like most things, I didn’t get round to it.

Until today, that is. After being inspired by Choclette’s banana and chocolate post, I decided to make the mousse again, but this time with added banana.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy vegan mousse recipe that uses tofu instead of avocado, then look no further.

Recipe: Vegan Banana Chocolate Tofu Mousse
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ cup raw cacao
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 349g/12oz carton silken tofu
Instructions
  1. Put everything in a food processor and blitz until smooth
  2. Leave to firm up in the fridge for a few hours

 

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Recipe: Vegan Leek and Potato Soup

Vegan leek and potato soup

Another thick and creamy soup using cashews and soya milk – this time, the always popular leek and potato. I don’t know what it is, but my leek and potato soup never comes out as nice as the ones in the tins, but it’s probably the cream and additives and other unhealthy stuff, but I’m sure I’ll make the perfect vegan leek and potato soup one day – I’ll just have to keep experimenting.

Again, as with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I made the other day, I started this soup off in the frying pan, and finished it in the soup maker. If you haven’t got a soup maker, just add the stock and seasoning to the pan, simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked, leave the milk out until the end, then blend.

Recipe: Vegan Leek and Potato Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 300g potatoes, cubed
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked for a few hours or in boiling water for 20 minutes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 750ml stock
  • ½ cup soya milk
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried dill
Instructions
  1. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes
  2. Add the leeks and fry for a few more minutes
  3. Add the potato and mix in with the onions and leeks
  4. If using a soup maker
  5. Put the onion, leek and potato mixture into the soup maker with the cashews, stock, seasoning and dill
  6. Put on the blend programme for 30 minutes
  7. Add the soya milk and blend again
  8. Check the consistency and, if needed, blend until smooth
  9. If using the hob
  10. Add the stock, salt and pepper and dill to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender
  11. Add the cashews and the soya milk and blend until smooth

 

 

 

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